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Marketers Still Hot on Social Media, Unclear on Value: Study

6/2/15
 
By Ken Magill
 
The vast majority of direct marketers leverage social media in some way, but many have yet to establish its value, according to a recent study by strategic consultancy the Winterberry Group.
 
Eighty one percent of marketers surveyed for the Winterberry Group’s Quarterly Business Report for the first quarter of 2015 said they leverage social-media management tools.
 
Yet, 25.2 percent said they use social media and it is unimportant to their business and 30.1 percent said they use it and it is “modestly” important, according to the report.
 
Still, 25.7 percent of those surveyed said they use social media and it is critical.
 
Yet while most marketers have yet to establish value in social media, they still intend to throw money at it, according to Jonathan C. Margulies, managing director, Winterberry Group.
 
“Marketers see consumers consuming content on social media with a voracious appetite,” said Margulies. “And when they look at their own behaviors and the behaviors of their children, they understand that the way people engage with content and commerce is changing, and it’s being dictated in large measure by these platforms.
 
“So the intent to continue investing is high,” he said. “And when they look at their budgets on a quarter-by-quarter basis, the extent to which they’re throwing more test budget toward those platforms continues to grow at a pretty substantial pace compared to other media.”
 
He added the total dollars marketers are spending on social media compared to other channels “is still relatively modest, but it’s growing fast and it’s going to continue to grow fast over the foreseeable future, but to a great extent marketers sill haven’t figured out what’s there to invest in on those platforms independent of advertising.”
 
However, marketers’ ongoing fascination with social media does not stem from dissatisfaction with other, more established digital channels, such as search and email, Margulies said.
 
“Generally speaking, the appetite to continue engaging with them [search and email] and to make them stronger pillars of established marketing efforts is higher now than we’ve ever seen it because there is a great understanding of how those channels work and work with each other,” he said.
 
“But with that maturity comes a sense that the growth and the potential to open new doors is maybe a little less than with those that are not quite as tried and true.” 
 
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